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What makes an effective workplace strategy: HR Insights Symposium 2022 highlights

What makes an effective workplace strategy: HR Insights Symposium 2022 highlights


From talent and workplace management, diversity and inclusion, to mental and financial wellness, expert speakers shared ways to navigate the increasingly complex talent landscape. Report by Tracy Chan.

On 29 September 2022, Human Resources Online, in partnership with Fidelity International, had the pleasure of hosting the HR Insights: Workplace Strategy Symposium 2022 at Hotel ICON, Hong Kong.

During the half-day conference, a host of HR leaders and experts took to the stage for keynote sessions and panel discussions to delve into the most critical issues that HR faces today – from talent and workplace management, diversity and inclusion, to mental and financial wellness.

Here's a quick summary of the sessions.

Prioritising workplace culture and talent can make a big impact

Kicking off the symposium, Iain Jones, Vice President, Workplace Consulting, Fidelity Investments, shared remotely from the U.S. about what employers and HR can do to acquire and keep good talents amidst the ever-changing world.

He highlighted four key areas that HR can focus on, and the potential actions to take:

  1. Diversity mindset: Think about your ultimate aim as a company; figure out the long-term solutions that highlight your company's culture and values; and measure success by the representation of values instead of benefit utilisation.
  2. Talent retention: Pay matters, but it is also crucial to look into the data and learn the diverse needs of diverse employees; try out new types of programmes, get feedback and adapt.
  3. Remote working: Take it as an opportunity to get the best talents around the world and see if you can keep people who have concerns about coming into the office, be proactive in keeping people connected, and clarify key metrics based on your company culture.
  4. Employee wellbeing: Define what wellbeing means at your company, knowing that financial wellness has a big impact on employee engagement. Have global consistency, particularly in definition, and make sure to adapt by country.

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A real-life case study of navigating the global crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic was undoubtedly a global crisis. But for Richemont Group, it is no longer a crisis but a new normal. Yi Zhang, HR Director, Northeast Asia, Richemont, shared some of the things the group has done to ride out the wave.

First of all, the company’s core value is its guidance. “Anything we do when we face a crisis, we need to make sure we reflect everything by our core values,” stressed Zhang.

He shared some of the measures the group put in place to ensure people are safe and resilient, while keeping the business afloat during the crisis:

  • Ensure decision alignment and maintain consistent employee experience,
  • Put people at the centre of every initiative launched,
  • Provide employment and income protection,
  • Help employees keep learning and growing,
  • Flexible benefits and work arrangements,
  • Leverage technology to enhance HR efficiency,
  • Share best practices.

“So all the way, I really believe as an HR, we need to be externally focused, meaning we need to understand what's going on in the world and then translate internally what we are going to do to disrupt the way we're doing (things),” highlighted Zhang.

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Have true engagement with employees

What does engagement mean? There are two things to reflect as one speaker said:

  1. Do you believe in the work that your company is doing and the mission you are trying to achieve?
  2. And most importantly, do you see the value in your work and do you will to spend and contribute your time and energy day-to-day doing it?

So how do we engage employees effectively? Listening to your employees, having continuous conversations, and cultivating an authentic and trusting relationship are keys to building a happy and productive workforce, as shared by the panellists in one of our panel discussions.

Here are some of the keys to improving engagement levels in the workplace:

  • Customisation is important: Balance employees' personal preferences with the nature of the business,
  • Explain clearly the way the company puts policies in place,
  • Collect data and feedback from employees, and be transparent about the results,
  • Create a safe space for people to open up,
  • Support employees in their work life as well as in their personal life, and take care of their mental wellbeing.

Panellists and moderator for this session were:

  • Aisling Gormley, Human Resources Director, Brinc Limited;
  • Charlotte Chan, CFA, CAIA Head of Distribution, Hong Kong Workplace and Personal Investing, Fidelity International;
  • Vegas Ho, Director of People, Preface; and
  • Moderator: Gerard Timbol, Senior Conference Producer, Human Resources Online

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Provide a level playing field for everyone

Warming up with quick polls and a Q&A session, Florence Chan, Culture & Inclusion Specialist, DLA Piper, prompted the audience to think back on their own experience of being different, or a minority, and went on to explain the topic of diversity, equity and inclusion through her personal experiences.

She laid out some of the simple ways that HR can embed diversity, equity and inclusion lens throughout the employee lifecycle, from recruitment, onboarding, development to retention, without creating a massive workload for HR:

  • Ensure diversity in hiring by requesting a certain representation of women and talents with disabilities included in the selection process,
  • Expand support coverage for employees and their dependents, such as extending childcare leave and childcare supports to include adopted children; and requesting insurance providers to cover same-sex partners in the employee insurance benefits,
  • Allow flexible work arrangements and provide the necessary technology,
  • Build a filter into your existing talent development programmes such as a target of diversity representation.

“The ultimate goal is you can increase innovation, build the best brand, and have a happier, diverse and engaged workforce,” concluded Chan.

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A good C&B strategy leads to a productive workforce

“Compensation and benefits are the tangible and measurable output of an organisation's recognition of their employees’ contributions, and the skills and experiences they bring to the workplace,” said one speaker in our C&B panel discussions.

In the past, when we talked about C&B, it was mainly about salary. But now, as our panellists shared, HR should have more consideration on a more holistic picture that covers retirement planning, flexible medical care, and employee wellbeing.

Here are some areas HR could look into when making a C&B strategy:

  • What are your employee demographics? What do they need – immediately, in the short-term, medium-term and long-term?
  • Are employees well-supported by the company, mentally, financially and for their families?
  • Is work from home covered in your employee compensation plan?

In terms of employee wellbeing, financial wellness has recently come under the spotlight. Our panellists shared that employers can benchmark employees’ needs on four pillars: budgeting, saving, debt management, and protection, and provide them with tools and analysis to help them look at the true picture, from both the emotional as well as objective and concrete aspects. 

Employers should also rebuild and rethink their C&B strategy, strike a balance between all the benefits of employer and employees, and may incorporate financial wellness education into their regular curriculum.

Panellists and moderator for this session were:

  • Vivian Yeung, Deputy General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Human Resources, China Aoyuan Group;
  • Louis Li, Associate Director, Hong Kong WI Sales, Fidelity International;
  • Joanna Lee, Global Director, Human Resources, Plaza Premium Group; and
  • Moderator: Gerard Timbol, Senior Conference Producer, Human Resources Online

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Human Resources Online would like to thank all speakers and panellists for their immense time and mind space invested in leading the industry conversations. We would also like to thank Fidelity International for co-hosting and putting their innovative might behind this event, and supporting HRO all the way.

Photos / HR Insights: Workplace Strategy Symposium 2022

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!   

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

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